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Keyword Optimisation Techniques You Should Not Be Using

There was once a time when filling pages and Meta tags full of keywords would help you rank well for those terms. Needless-to-say, times have changed and it’s no longer anywhere near that easy. In fact, there are a number of old-school keyword optimisation techniques which can now do you more harm than good.

Here is a list of definite “don’ts” when it comes to keyword optimisation, followed by the all-important “do”.

DON’T stuff your pages with keywords (Keyword Stuffing)

The worst thing you can do these days when it comes to keyword “optimisation” is overuse it on your page. If your text looks unnatural through excessive use of target keywords, the Google Panda algorithm update will see your site plummet down the rankings.

Make sure that you don’t use your target keyword more than half a dozen or so times on your page or up to around 5-10% of the words on your page.

DON’T make your keywords bold all over your pages (Keyword Bolding)

Another historical keyword optimisation technique is to make each instance of your keywords on-page bold or “strong”. This once highlighted to Google that it was an important term and encouraged the search engine to rank your site well for that term. Not anymore.

Avoid bolding particular words at all if you can help it; it’s not a necessary format online and can make your text look like a link. If you do use the bold or strong tags, use them sparingly and don’t use them for making your target keywords stand out.

DON’T use only exact match keywords in your link anchor text

To build relevance to your target keywords, it is still important to obtain strong links with keyword anchor text. For example, if you sell red shoes and another site links to yours with link text “red shoes”, search engines see that your site or page is related to that term.

However, excessive use of exact-match keyword anchor text is worse than not having any at all. If Google believes you are trying to beat the system by spamming anchor text links, you will be hit quickly with a manual or algorithmic ranking penalty.

Make sure that keyword-optimised anchor text makes up no more than 10-15% of your backlinks. You should also aim to have at least 50% branded anchor text, with your brand name or website URL as the clickable text. The rest should be keyword variations, such as “stunning red shoes” or “red shoes from The Shoe Company”, and natural anchor text such as “click here” or “buy now”.

DON’T stuff the Meta keyword tag full of multiple keywords

Most major search engines, including Google and Bing, no longer use the Meta keyword tag at all. Although some smaller, more niche search engines do take this field into account, if you have numerous keywords stuffed into it (think more than three keywords or more than around 50 characters) they are just going to see it as a keyword stuffing and spamming attempt. It will do you no favours.

In most cases I recommend not using this Meta tag at all. Even if used properly, it can still give your competitors a very easy way to see which keywords you are targeting without them having to do any keyword research of their own. It is only worth using this field if you operate in a very specific niche, or a country where a number of users will be using a search engine that still takes these into account. Remember; if you do choose to use them, only use one or two keywords per page and make sure they are unique on each page.

DO use occasional, natural references of your target keyword

The way to build keyword relevancy naturally without looking spammy or artificial is really quite simple; use it naturally. Use it in your content, use it in your page header, use it in your coded page title and Meta description and use it in your image alt tags where relevant to the image.

Make sure you monitor your backlinks regularly and look out for excessive use of keyword-optimised anchor text. If you’re gaining too many new links with exact-match keyword anchor text, build more branded links by registering niche social profiles and supplying great content with branded links.

For more information on optimising your site for search engines, get in touch with me today or leave a comment below.


  • I usually have about 3 to 4 paragraphs of text with a couple of headings above each paragraph (H2) with a couple of keywords in the beginnning of the first paragraph and in the last paragraph. I also put keywords in the headings. Along with backlinks from your Google+ Page, Youtube channel, Blogs, etc. work great for ranking.

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    • Thanks Norman, I agree. Any more than this would look unnatural or read badly but much less may lack relevancy. I also don’t stick to one keyword variation and instead look at keyword themes or groups to build on the relevancy and context.

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